Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Problem With "Love Yourself as You Are"

I am a perpetual goal setter. I get fired up at the start of the year and at the start of each month. Heck, even a Monday can get me fired up for the potential "clean slate" of a new week.

Some of my goals, I achieve. Others, I don't. Do I sometimes feel disappointed in myself? Yes. But that doesn't stop me from setting more goals.

It has become common for women on social media to say, "Stop looking to constantly improve yourself. Love yourself as you are. You are perfect as you are. Don't set resolutions. You don't need to change to be happy."

And I get that. I do. I get that women have a tendency to berate themselves and to say "if only THIS was different, I could be happy." I get that people don't live "in the moment."

But. I am not perfect as I am, not really. For the past couple years, I have had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These metrics are both driven by my weight. I need to lose weight for health reasons. I can only lose weight by setting goals, sticking to a plan, and monitoring what I do. All the time. If I stop, I eat thousands of calories and watch TV instead of moving. That is who I was as a kid. That is who I was as a teen. That is what is in my genes.

When I read the messages saying you don't need to change--just be happy, my little mind a) is ashamed about my penchant for goal setting, and b) turns toward FOOD FOOD FOOD. "That's great, I can eat all the things, all the time." It sets me up for  for making unhealthy choices and for perhaps getting more chronic health problems later on.

I am not saying that I shouldn't "love myself as I am" IN ADDITION TO making healthy choices. For me, that is a CHANGE. I need to CHANGE MY BEHAVIOR to live the most fulfilling life I can. And that behavior change will lead to a mind/body change. And I feel like the "body positive," "love yourself as you are" movements diminish that.

I may be the only one who feels shamed by the DON'T RESOLVE TO DO ANYTHING culture. And no, many resolutions don't stick. However, in January 2001, I entered a Weight Watchers room, at the HEIGHT of resolution season. I was what gym-goers and "regulars" at WW disparagingly call a "resolutioner." A faker taking up space for a few weeks.

But. By January of 2002, I'd lost 100 pounds. Some resolutions stick. And some change your life.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

And Now, a 1 -Year-Old

Our little baby turned 1 yesterday!

I was much more emotional about it than I expected. Munch was as well, looking at the newborn pictures and saying "Oh, I could cry." Me too, kid!

Hubs and I took the day off, as was our custom with Munch until he entered kindergarten. What do you do with a 1 year old? LOL. With Munch, we went to the zoo, but it somehow felt wrong to go on such a fun outing without big brother. So, we just spent the day together and that was special enough.

We had not yet gotten Crab furniture for his bedroom. Crazy, I know. Multiple factors, not least of which is that we decided to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics' new recommendation of keeping the baby in our bedroom for the first 12 months. Some may say crazy, but it was nice. So there was no need for a crib yet!

So, we went to Buy Buy Baby and found a convertible crib and dresser for our boy. Soon he will have a room all his own! I'm not sure he'll be happy with that, since I'm sure it'll be a transition... After that, we grabbed subs and the baby took a nap, so I wrapped his presents and watched Law & Order: CI for an hour LOL.

Then, off to our default go-to, Barnes and Noble. We walked around the pond and then hung out a bit. I bought more books (oopsie) and a cool one for Munch for Christmas. We had Starbucks and the baby played takeaway with Hubs' hat.

Then, it was off to Gramma's for dinner, cake, and presents. Crab ate a ton of cake! He just kept eating it LOL. As he sat next to his brother with a piece untouched--a tale of two personalities! He actually opened his presents and really seemed excited! Especially about the remote and the rolly elephant filled with Duplo blocks. It was a great time!

It's crazy to think he's a whole year old. In some ways, this year has seemed so long--we've had a lot of goings-on and changes. We bought a new house, moved, got the townhouse ready for rent, finally found a renter, Munch switched schools, oh and lest we forget I broke my foot 2.5 weeks postpartum, Crab got a cold at the same time, and honestly I had a very hard time with the first couple months of mother-of-two-hood.

Hubs keeps saying "I wish we could go back and re-experience the birth." I'm like, don't you remember Dr. J running in to check the heart rate every 10 minutes? Don't you remember the stress and fear? He was like "Oh right, I forgot about that." Whereas, I was so relieved the baby was born healthy and safely, that he was out and I could touch him, that I in no way want to imagine him back in! The newborn phase was very difficult for me, I remember being on the brink of panic and thinking, "I can't do this!" It took a long time to adjust to being tied to breastfeeding again, having to haul diapers around again, losing so much independence again. And of course the broken foot really complicated things. All because I needed a Jimmy John's sub. *smh*

But yet I remember the later part of maternity leave, when I was able to get around better, those days of long naps as Crab laid on my lap and I binged "Game of Thrones" LOL. Hauling the stroller out at Munch's school to pick him up and then going for a Starbuck. Sitting with the sleeping baby at Barnes and Noble. Those days, I miss.

Crab is the sweetest baby. Headstrong and stubborn, oh yes. I want him to be--I am intensely aware of the "youngest child syndrome," especially since we have two kids of the same gender. Already people are like, what presents do we get him--because of course Munch has every toy under the sun. He wears hand-me-downs and plays with old toys. As a second child myself--and the MIDDLE at that--I want both my children to feel special in their own right, for Crab not to feel in any way overshadowed or that what he is going through is any less worthy an experience because Munch went through it first, and because we went through it WITH Munch first.

As an aside, the other day, Munch was upset about who-knows-what, something we found trivial, and he said to Hubs, "You don't know my life!" No truer statement. I also don't want Munch to feel any less special either, because now we have the baby to dote on. My life is a constant balancing act and I fear that no matter what we do, oldest kids and youngest kids perceive the world how they do and we cannot stop it.

But I digress. The baby has come through his first year with some illnesses--mostly head colds, some fevers, his fair share of ear infections. No tubes (yet). The poor thing has eczema that I wish would clear up sooner rather than later. He LOVES food, most especially pizza and bread. He weaned himself at 9.5 months and is not terribly enthused about the bottle at any rate. He says "keeey" for kitty and loves his brother. He crawls like a champ and I love when he looks down to watch his legs moves as he goes. He pulls himself up and falls forward into waiting arms, but no walking yet. A little cruising. He cut six teeth, the top four all at once. He has a sizeable space between his front teeth because of the lip tie (which didn't have to be cut when he was first born), but that will only add to his charm.

When he's angry or frustrated, which is becoming more often now that he knows what he wants, he throws himself backward regardless of how hard the floor is--this causes serious flares of my anxiety. He will sit and wiggle his head from side to side and squawk like a bird to show you just how displeased he is. He loves balls and dances to music, rocking his hips front to back. He tries to climb the stairs, but then sits down, so someone better be right behind him. He has come into our bed every night since he was about 5 months old--we never really got over the 4-month sleep regression. When he falls asleep, he clenches his hands on the backs of my arms and leaves bruises, but I am willing to sacrifice my body for his comfort. His eyes are hazel and his hair medium brown. Only curly when he's sweaty or has bedhead.

He has a wave worthy of royalty, his arm outstretched high above his head. He loves to drink water. He has been on an airplane and gone to Disney World in the billion degree heat. He has been to Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia, and Washington, DC. He experienced the solar eclipse in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He has taken probably a dozen baths LOL. He loves to be in the water with his brother.  He claps on command, but expects you to join in. 

I could not love this second boy of mine more.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Horn Tooting Time: One Month of Tracking!

I have officially completed one entire month of tracking everything I ate, every day, all day. I truly can't remember the last time I did this and I question if I ever really have. There was that January before we went to St. Lucia, when I lost 20 lbs after the holidays LOL ... but I can't remember if I just was "on points" that whole time or really tracked it all.

Regardless, this is a very big accomplishment for me.

I'd like to say that I'm feeling confident, and I am--but to a point. I keep waiting for the "thing that will break this." I keep waiting for my mind to pop out of the mindset, for this to become hard again...

Because, I hesitate to say this, but this is the "easiest" this has felt to me since my first year on Weight Watchers, the big year, when it all came off the first time. I used to say it was easy, it FELT easy, and then I would look back on that time and think "How could I have ever thought this was easy?? It is impossible." But now ... I don't have cravings. I don't feel urges like I used to. I turn from pizza and office bagels and Boston creme pie without a pang and actually with a bit of DISDAIN.

It's not that I've given up sugar--far from it. I have three mini Heath bars every day. I use (a lot of) International Delight in my coffee most mornings. I eat baked chips and my might-as-well-be-candy-bars protein bars for breakfast. I just feel ... settled. It's a very odd feeling for me to feel, after years of fighting and struggling.

And of course, me being me, I worry it will end.

The holidays loom, but at this point, I don't even ... care? I think of Christmas cookies and big dinners and I don't feel tempted or worried. We'll see how I feel in 3 months, but I plan to continue tracking through it all.

I have had three big losses on the scale in a row, so I am braced for a smaller one or no loss tomorrow, but I will know it's because of my body, not because of any "cheat meals" or something. We haven't eaten out in the past month except: 2 Panera meals; 1 Subway meal; and 1 Chopt meal. Wow! Another huge accomplishment. I'm feeling happy in the kitchen. Our grocery budget has swelled ... but I am happy to be cooking at home again.

And I realized ... Munch is still young enough that I can change his perception of how we eat at home. It doesn't have to be that he looks back and remembers us constantly eating out. Rather, he can remember his mom cooking tons of home-cooked meals and that eating out was a treat.

So I'm very proud of myself. I'm riding in the zone. I know that I'm ultimately in control. In some ways I think "what is HAPPENING??" but then I put my head down and keep forging on!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Still Going Strong

Ugh, work and home life have been so insane that I have not had time to give an update on my progress. I have had the best stretch of healthy eating that I have had in a very long time--years! I have written down everything I've eaten, every day, since August 28. That's almost 3 weeks. For context, I generally would go 2 days, start getting lax, and be completely off again by the weekend.

We also have only eaten Panera 2 times and Subway once in that time. Again for context, we were eating out, and eating badly (Chipotle, burgers, pizza, subs with chips) at least 2 or 3 times a week and almost all of the weekend. I tracked and stayed on calories throughout Labor Day weekend. This is unprecedented LOL. Now, we have home-cooked dinner almost every night, and the nights we have something late, when previously we would "grab something" (like the aforementioned subs/pizza), we have had Lean Cuisines or Eggos. It's not always glamorous, but it is a huge change for us.

FOR LUNCHES at work, I have brought a salad EVERY SINGLE DAY. On my work at home days, I have a veggie-filled omelet that I LOVE. I had also gotten into the habit of "grabbing something" when the lunch I brought didn't sound satisfying. I was forever feeling like I don't get enough vegetables and feeling bummed about that. Now, I have a huge amount of veggies early in the day and I feel good and accomplished.

The scale reflected my work last Friday; we'll see what it says tomorrow. I'm still hitting relatively high calories because breastfeeding (though it's minimal at this point) and because mentally I am not in a place to go low. My sister is doing 1,200 calories and while I have done that, I just can't do it now. I try to hit between 1,750 and 1,850 calories. I know that once the breastfeeding is done, I'll have to drop, but I plan to drop gradually--down to 1,600, then 1,500 and see what my body does. For this time, I needed to focus on writing down everything and staying within a reasonable number. And I've done that and will continue to do that.

(I will say that I was hesitant to update progress because, well, I don't want to jinx anything. But I am in control of my own choices, so that's a silly thought.)

Hubs is tracking and that has been a huge help to me as well. Poor guy is hungry, but managing. LOL

I will say this is time-consuming. Cooking dinner after school/work is a challenge, so I try to do meal preps on the weekend and on my work at home days. Chopping lunch veggies takes longer than "grabbing something" at the building cafe. Getting everyone's lunch together and the baby's food and bottles together now that school has started up again takes about 30-45 minutes every night. It's annoying and exhausting sometimes. But it's becoming habitual. And I feel very good.

So, for now, I'm staying the course. I have not felt "tempted," yet, though I know that will come. I have felt committed and like this is what I want so badly that pizza is not worth it. It's a feeling I will hold on to.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Back in the Saddle (Goals, 8/28-9/3)


Summer is over and it's time to get serious. I go to the doctor on Friday for my physical and I anticipate not very good blood work. I am determined to change my lifestyle. I'm done with gaming the system, only making good choices for 2 days and then getting back into the same old routine. I only have one life and I intend to live it as healthfully as I reasonably can!

My instinct is to shoot for the moon on goals, but with two small kids at home, I know that's just setting myself up for failure. So, small steps. I will get there.

Goals for the week:

  • Track all food.
  • Eat no more than 1,900 calories per day.
  • Get 15 minutes of activity per day.
  • Eat all home-cooked meals.
 Let's do this! 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Lose List: Living as Long as Possible

I have always been afraid of dying. It is such an ingrained fear that when I found out not everyone worries about dying on a daily basis, I was shocked. For me, the threat of death is a constant spectre. I am better about it now. But I still worry. Doubly so now that I am a mother.

When my sons look at me adoringly, my warm mommy heart tries to stay in the moment, but a voice, likely the voice of my lifelong anxiety, whispers, "Oh God, they will be devastated if I die."

Suddenly my own death isn't just terrifying for myself. It is life-changing for two little people. On a fundamental level, their lives, their outlook on life, their worldview, would change. And that thought terrifies me.

Suddenly the unconditional love sons have for their mothers feels sinister and fraught. I don't want them to love me so much because of what it will do to them if they lose me.

Of course part of the nature of fear of death is that it is the ultimate thing out of our control. We can do all the things we think to ward off death--buckle up, look both ways, check for (skin) moles, chew carefully, don't dive in shallow water, drive sober, lock the doors at night, carry pepper spray, knock on wood until our knuckles are bloody--the list goes on and on into absurdity.

But, in the end, death is uncontrollable.

Except when it isn't. And one thing that is hammered into the public's consciousness is that OBESITY KILLS. Obesity increases the risk of death. Obesity harms the body in untold ways.

I have known this for all of my life. I remember being a "tween" (we weren't called that then), sitting at a doctor's desk with my mother. I don't know why I saw this doctor--he wasn't either of my childhood pediatricians. I don't know what brought about this visit. But in the course of it, he said it would be good if I lost some weight (duh). "Carrying around extra weight is hard on the heart." (Oh.)

So on top of my deathly fear that I will die and leave my sons motherless is GUILT. For all my wood knocking and precautions and "be carefuls," I am NOT doing all I can to keep myself around. See, I am eating a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup instead of considering how this extra weight is harming my heart with every single beat it takes to get the blood to every corner of my obese body. I must not care THAT much. GUILT.

But I do care. I care so much it terrifies me. I care so much that before I learned to manage my anxiety, I would be crippled by worry, leading to things like a racing heart, leading to worry that I was actually having a heart attack, leading to a visit to Urgent Care (later marked in my patient portal "anxiety state"), and ultimately leading to a little comfort eating and thus the cycle continues.

I understand that even a healthy weight doesn't guarantee you will not have a heart attack. How many of us shake our heads in shock and wonder that the gym rat died from a "widow maker" [nice] as the treadmill whirred next to his lifeless body. I understand that even this is out of my control.

But that doesn't mean I should just give up. In fact, this entry is at the top of my lose list. There is nothing more important: Live as long as I can for my children. And my husband, of course. And myself, sure. But my kids most of all.

This item on my lose list is the one that needles me the most. The one that makes me most frustrated with myself. If I can't even eat healthy for THIS, what hope do I have? But see, even death is so abstract. I had a high cholesterol blood test in 2016 and it didn't change my eating habits. Because the voice that rationalizes such things (a different voice from anxiety, possibly the one that works so hard to fight the anxiety) says, "This one French fry does not matter. This dinner out won't affect your health THAT much. High cholesterol isn't SO bad."

I am working to keep this item on my lose list at the fore. I am working to remove the guilt from the last 6 years of eating. I am working to cast it in a positive light--Be as healthy as possible--rather than a negative--LOSE WEIGHT SO I DON'T DIE!!!! I am working to feel proud of myself when I make the good choices, and this week I've made a few, so that I can hold onto that and get myself to a healthy weight so if I did happen to find myself on my deathbed (God forbid, knock wood, salt over the shoulder), I could know that I DID do everything I could.

My body is worth treating well. My kids are more important than the taste of mayo. My heart deserves to be cut some slack.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Crab has had so many firsts already that I am sure I've forgotten some, even though he's only 5 months old. Here are some of the biggies:

First rollover: February 8, he rolled from belly to back. He's done it a few times since, and he's so close to being able to do back to front, but he's not rolling all over the place yet. He still hates tummy time, so that's not surprising.

First dose of Tylenol: January 2, after his 2 month vaccines. Poor baby.

First bath: About 1 week old. Crab has eczema on his cheeks especially, so we give very few baths at this point. 

First state visited: Pennsylvania.

First cold: When he was 2.5 weeks old. Terrifying and infuriating.

First day of daycare: March 1, his 4 month birthday.

First solid food: Sweet potatoes. He didn't really care for them at the time, but LOVES bananas and this week ate a whole jar of sweet potatoes. He also likes pears and apples. Peas, not so much.

First antibiotic: Amoxicillin, for his first ear infection, March 31.